Dewoitine D.500 (Series) Monoplane Fighter Aircraft
The D.500 series was a stopgap design, incorporating elements from two ages of aviation.
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The D.500 series proved itself an interim fighter design for the nation of France heading into World War 2 (1939-1945). It appeared through a first-flight held on June 18th, 1932 and was formally introduced for service with the French in July of 1935. It eventually served both the air and naval branches of the country and went on to see light export numbers worldwide.
The D.500 was one of the many "bridge" fighter designs to appear prior to the World War - it still relied on an open-air cockpit and its undercarriage was fixed during flight. It did hold some rather modern elements of the period - low-set monoplane wings and all-metal internal and external construction. Compared to her neighbors of the period, France lacked consistency and innovation, particularly when compared to designs emerging from Germany and Britain at the same time.
D.500.01 marked the first sole prototype of the series and this was followed by the initial D.500 production models which carried a Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs engine of 690 horsepower. Armament consisted of 2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns which would be replaced by the local 7.5mm Darne machine guns. The wings were also pre-designed to accept a machine gun each (for a total of four guns) and 101 aircraft were completed to this standard. The D.501 arrived with the Hispano-Suiza 12Xcrs engine and introduced a 20mm cannon at the nose firing through the propeller hub. Wing-mounted machine guns were also featured and 157 of this model were completed.
D.511 retained the fuselage of the D.500 but was given new, smaller wing mainplanes and a cantilever undercarriage arrangement. It also relied on the 12Ycrs engine but only a single prototype was completed and this example was not flown in testing. It eventually was reworked into the D.503. D.503 marked a one-off prototype which carried a 12Xcrs engine. Armament followed the D.501 entry and a first flight was held on April 15th, 1935. Its performance was no better than the original D.500 so the design was discarded.